Breaks are an essential component of any workday. Though some people might argue breaks do little more than waste time and hamper productivity, quite a few studies have shown the opposite is true. In fact, even short breaks can help increase productivity, boost employee morale, and go a long way toward avoiding burnout.

Having said that, deciding just what to do during those 10- or 15-minute breaks isn’t always easy. It’s not a lot of time, but without a proper plan in place, a great deal of time can be wasted over the course of a week. Take a look at the following interesting ideas for making the most of those short morning and afternoon breaks.

1) Make It a True Coffee Break

According to the latest reports, people around the world collectively drink about two billion cups of coffee per day. This globally renowned beverage is famous for providing a nice boost of energy. It also happens to be a great way to warm up on a cold day or in a particularly frigid office setting. Coffee’s richness, warmth, and amazing flavors also offer a level of internal satisfaction you just can’t get from a soda or energy drink. Options like associated coffee services are available to provide an array of coffee flavors, roasts, and blends to suit virtually any preferences.

2) Enjoy Some Light Reading

Reading is a terrific pastime whether you prefer old-fashioned books or digital downloads. You’ll find countless selections in a vast array of genres, including everything from science fiction and fantasy to self-help guides and inspirational stories. Enjoying a good book can transport you out of your workstation and into an endless range of interesting worlds. Research also shows that reading can build brain power, reduce stress, and ward off the loss of cognitive function that often comes with aging, among other benefits.

3) Engage in a Puzzle or Game

Millions of people enjoy playing online games, completing crossword puzzles, and even putting together traditional jigsaw puzzles. Those activities can certainly help take your mind off of work, stimulate brain functions, and foster creativity. If you enjoy those types of pursuits, there’s certainly no harm in dedicating your breaks to them.

4) Have a Snack

Snacks are important for several reasons. They provide a much-needed pick-me-up from both physical and mental perspectives. Snacks give you calories and other crucial components for extra energy and can help to avoid mid-morning or mid-afternoon crashes. Appropriate snacks also help keep blood sugar levels steady. While you’re enjoying other break-time activities, don’t hesitate to include a nice snack in the mix.

5) Watch a Movie

These days, movies and television shows are as close as our phones, and those are always on hand. That means there’s no reason you can’t spend some breaks watching movies, your favorite sitcoms, or funny cat videos via all the streaming services now available. It’s certainly a nice way to lighten your mood even on the worst of workdays.

6) Stretch Your Legs

Exercise offers a long list of benefits. This is especially true if you spend long hours behind a desk or sitting at a workstation. Getting up and moving around for just a few minutes at a time can burn calories, improve blood flow, and work wonders for mental and emotional health.

7) Just Breathe

While you could spend your break time doing any of those previously mentioned alternatives, there’s no rule that says you absolutely have to take a walk, rush to the nearest coffee station, or enjoy a snack. You could simply sit back, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Depending on your beliefs, you could even use breaks to meditate or pray for a bit.

Getting the Most Out of Break Times

All of these are wonderful ways to spend those precious breaks that help make the workday less tedious. You can mix and match them as the mood strikes you or go your own way. Any activity that gets your mind off work is bound to boost productivity and improve your state of mind.

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